Why do so many fans attend this the Bust each year? I chatted with a few folks while the players were still signing autographs for fans, well before the event officially started and asked that question. It’s not cheap (small glass of beer is $5, rail cocktail $7), and there are other opportunities during the year to see the players. While U-M fans are charitable, it’s got nothing to do with supporting the U-M Club of Detroit.
When the seniors got up to speak I was reminded why, to me, the Bust is such a special event. It’s really a unique chance to see these young guys in this moment when they say what really want they want to say—relatively unfiltered. I remember Angelique asking Kovacs to reflect on this career moments after the Ohio State game. Understandably he wouldn’t (probably couldn’t) do it. It’s so rare to get these guys to open up about anything beyond what happened on the field.
While all the seniors, especially Kovacs, Denard, Will Campbell (hilarious), Pat Omameh and Jack Kennedy did a real nice job, it was Roy Roundtree who delivered the moment of the night.
He started out in a joking mood talking about his recruitment, basically saying despite his commitment to Purdue, once offered by Michigan he was on his way to Ann Arbor to wear the winged helmet. The tone changed pretty quickly and Treezy got choked up and then teared up while thanking Greg Harden, director of athletic counseling, for his mentorship. Mark Snyder captured a few details:
But they made this night about their lives, not their careers. Senior receiver Roy Roundtree thanked Hoke for teaching him the Michigan tradition, then touched the room when he reached beyond the field.
Discussing associate athletic director Greg Harden, who has mentored so many U-M athletes over the past few decades, he became the only Wolverine to break down.
“You pushed me. I came here as a freshman acting up, I didn’t really tell my parents what was going on, and you always had a positive influence in my life,” Roundtree said between tears. “I want to say thank you. Because without you, I don’t know if I would still be at Michigan. You really pushed me to the limit. You made me see the light to get to where I’m at now. You made me face the toughest battles that I’ve overcame. With that said, I graduated and I’m in grad school.”
He closed by telling the guys returning to team 134 that’d he’d be watching on Saturdays next year donning his M gear and rings. He urged them to work on and off the field. And in case anyone forgot, he reminded everyone he’s from Ohio. Well done Treezy.
* Getting there early. While hearing the seniors is the highlight, there’s no question many folks are there to get their stuff signed and meet the players. According to the U-M Club of Detroit, the first posted start time is 5:30 for cocktails, but it’s an unwritten rule that the autograph line starts much earlier. I understand fans got there as early as 2pm to queue up. (And no, you couldn’t just cut right to Denard but nice try–everyone).
* I heart my GF. One nitpick on the speeches–there were way too many seniors thanking their girlfriends up there. Oy. I love the ladies as much as the next guy, but come on. Where’s the toughness, fellas? Coaching point for Hoke and crew in 2013 IMO.
* 1972, 1973, 1974 Teams. There was a nice tribute, including video, of these teams and several of the players were recognized at the banquet. When MC Dave Brandon introduced them he pointed out that despite the wild success of these teams, they only played to a sell-out crowd at home on a handful of occasions. The video package was pretty limited but featured the coveted All-White uniforms. Also of note, Brandon reminded attendees of the horrific ‘73 athletic director vote that sent the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl, he got a nice vintage Wolverine ‘booo!’ from the crowd including yours truly. We remember.
* Carr, Wellman. Most of the guys thanked Rich Rodriguez and a couple guys (Demens and Floyd?) thanked Lloyd Carr for recruiting them. Just about everyone thanked strength man Aaron Wellman, who doesn’t get/seek the pub like Barwis but it seems he’s built a strong relationship with these guys. Two guys mentioned the coveted Twin City socks of Three and Out fame.
* Moeller. I don’t believe Carr attended the event, but Coach Mo was there and a new scholarship was unveiled that will bear the name of Moeller and his wife.
* Night. It’s no secret that we’ll have more games with night kickoffs at the Big House, but FWIW Brandon specifically noted he looked forward to seeing fans at the stadium, including in the evening.
* 500. Bob MacLean, the man who’s attended 500 consecutive games was honored. Considering that the folks who attending the Bust are the diehards of the diehards, many with several streaks of the own no doubt, MacLean is the king.
* 900. The pigskin from the Michigan State game started with an opening bid of $900 and ended up fetching at least $1600.
Follow MVictors on Twitter